Written by: Bob Amic
Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude”. Although our third President wasn’t referring to a persons’ fitness program, those words could not be more appropriate. Your health and fitness programs go well beyond the physical act of working out.
To achieve the greatest benefit from your fitness program, you must be training your mind as well as training your body. And a positive mental attitude is imperative to realize your true fitness potential. I’m convinced, that without the proper attitude, no matter how hard you train or how careful you are with your eating habits, true long-term success will never be attained.
Determination and willpower normally come out of a true love for the sport, but these traits can be developed in other ways. Studies have proven that the more familiar and educated we are about something, the more we tend to like doing it. Some solid education will go a long way. Reading quality books and articles on health and fitness will arm you with good information on what you should be doing. Talk with people that are into fitness and learn what they do to stay in shape. Having an experienced and knowledgeable training partner and learning as much as you can from them is the best investment that you can make for long term success. But a note of warning: Stay far away from the fad workouts, gadgets and diets. They are just not proven and normally lead to failure.
After a particularly stressful day, the motivation levels may tend to wander a bit. These are the times when you may need a psychological boost to find that determination to stay on schedule. Having a good workout partner can help you get through the negative feelings and get you back on track mentally. Knowing that someone else is depending upon you will make you much less likely to blow off your workout. You’ll show up to the gym that’s filled with positive energy, be surrounded by others that are highly motivated and share a common goal. The energy will soon become contagious.
Mental concentration and visualization play an extremely important role for a positive mental attitude in training. As you drive to the gym, think about how you are going to exercise. Tell yourself that you are going to have a great workout. Once in the gym, mentally visualize each exercise before you do it to condition and prepare your mind to train more effectively. To make sure that you are performing your exercise properly and to the fullest, concentrate on each repetition, stride, movement or step. Focusing on each movement will not only keep you in proper form and function, but keep you focused on getting where you want to be. Some may think this is silly but trust me…… it works!
Also, keep your workout regime short and effective. A good quality workout should last about an hour or so, and if with the proper intensity, can be even less. For most people, training for too lengthy of a period will lead to boredom, burnout and over-training and will greatly diminish the long-term motivation.
Again, having the right mental attitude will lead to definite success, but the wrong mental attitude is nearly a guarantee for frustration and failure. So use your exercise time wisely and have fun, relieve stress, get motivated. And listen to your body. You’ll like what you hear.